Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Espinazo de Puerco en Chile Colorado (Pork Neck Bones in Red Chile)

 "Espinazo en Chile Colorado" is a soup composed of pork neck bones swimming in a rich reddish stock who's color comes from flavorful dried Guajillo or California chilies, thickened with corn masa dough. It is served hot topped with minced onion, cilantro, limes, a side of warm corn tortillas and your choice of hot sauce or red salsa. If you think this dish is going to be fiery hot and spicy fear not. The soup is actually extremely mild if you use "Guajillo" chilies, and completely absent of spiciness if you use "Chile California" (which are Anaheim peppers that when ripened red are dried).

My mother remembers enjoying this dish often growing up Zacapú, Michoacan, Mexico which was shared to her through one of her neighbors. Growing up she always liked helping around her friends mother's kitchens, and learning a thing or two from them. To this day it remains one of her favorite and most memorable dishes :)

Main Ingredients (to boil and simmer neck bones):
-2 1/2 lbs pork neck bones (washed well under running water, my mother likes to soak it quickly in water with salt and vinegar, swoosh it around for a minute then drain, and rinsing again under cold water)
 -8-9 cups water
-1/2 onion
-2 garlic cloves
-2 bay leaves
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1 heaping tablespoon chicken bouillon powder or beef bouillon
-salt to taste (I used about 2 tsp. you can use less or more)

Finishing Ingredients:
-7 dried guajillo or California chilies
-2 roma tomatoes (optional, if you have it use it, if not don't worry I didn't use it)
-2-3 raw garlic cloves
-1/2 cup of prepared corn masa dough (you could use 1/2 cup of dry maseca that has been mixed with water to a dough consistency)
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (like the spice or 2 whole ones that you grind freshly)

To garnish and serve:
-minced fresh onion
-finely chopped cilantro

Directions:
(1) In a large pot, bring all the main ingredients to a boil over high heat, give a good stir, cover and simmer on medium low for 1 1/2- 2 hrs until pork neck bones are very tender.
(2) Meanwhile get the dried peppers, remove the stem, cut open and take out veins and seeds, rinse them under water, and put in a small pot if you want to add tomatoes, get two small tomatoes, cut them in half and add them to the pot together with the chilies. Cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat, then turn off and allow to rest and soak for atleast 15- 20 minutes. Set aside.

  Afterwards in a blender blend the chilies with cumin, black pepper, cloves, raw garlic cloves, and masa dough along with some of the soaking liquid. Set this blended mixture aside.
(3) Now when pork neck bones are tender, remove the neck bones from the pot, and strain the stock into another pot through a strainer to get rid of any grit and pieces of things in the stock, that way you will have a clearer stock, and end up with a smooth result.
(4) Afterwards add the pork neck bones back to the pot with the stock that has been strained and bring back to a boil. Add all the contents that you blended in the blender, but strain it as you add it in.
Allow to come to a rolling boil while stirring occasionally, and when it does allow to boil an additional 10 minutes so the corn masa that was blended thickens the soup and cooks through.
(5) It should look like this after 10 minutes.

A close up
Here it is served before topping with a little bit of fresh minced onion, cilantro and lime along with some hot sauce. Don't forget to serve with a side of warm corn tortillas.

Please Note: This is not a super thick stew, it is more like a soupy gravy, if you want it thicker you could add more corn masa dough I would say up to a cup, but do not over do it, the next day it will be even thicker. 

ALSO if you like this recipe and the flavors of Chile Guajillo and California you might also enjoy my blog posts and recipes for the following recipes all of which feature those dried peppers by clicking on the titles of the following: